Dr Julie Ling
I was delighted to take up my new post as CEO of the European Association for Palliative Care (EPAC) on 1 January 2015 having worked in the area of palliative care for the last 25 years; the first seven in the UK and the last 18 in Ireland.
I originally trained as a nurse at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington and left there in 1990 to undertake an oncology course at the Royal Marsden Hospital. There, one of my placements was in palliative care so from there onwards, this became my career path. I have worked in many different roles within palliative care, including primary nurse, research nurse, clinical nurse specialist and nurse manager, before working as an advisor on palliative care in the Department of Health in Dublin.
During my time in this post, I co-ordinated the development of the Irish National Children's Palliative Care Policy. Respite is a key component of children's palliative care and yet it became apparent that very little was known about how and where services were provided. This information is not only important for children and their families, but also for providers and planners of healthcare.
Having successfully applied for a Health Research Board Clinical Research Training Fellowship I undertook a full-time PhD at the TCD School of Nursing and Midwifery, focusing on exploring the respite needs and experiences of parents caring for a child with a life-limiting condition, requiring palliative care.
Most of my time as a doctoral student at Trinity College was spent working from home and I always regret that I did not spend more time in college, enjoying the facilities and fully immersing myself in college life. It almost felt that I was too old to enjoy all that was on offer on campus and now looking back I wish I had made more of this time!
I am first and foremost a palliative care nurse and so was delighted that following my research, I was appointed to the post of strategic development at LauraLynn Children's Hospice. This gave me a unique opportunity to put into practice some of the findings from my PhD research. Parents want to care for their child at home with help so I am delighted that during my tenure at LauraLynn, I led the development of a pilot project of a hospice-at-home service providing ‘hands-on’ care for children with life-limiting conditions in the family home enabling my research to make a real difference.
My new post at the EAPC requires regular travel throughout Europe, which I enjoy. The work provides an exciting opportunity to influence change on a larger scale and I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead.
My everyday life centres on my family and friends. I have a 14 year old son, so my spare time is spent cheerleading (rugby and Gaelic), providing a taxi service (to matches, Wezz and the cinema), bankrolling shopping for training shoes at Dundrum and very importantly, walking my Labrador Oscar in Bushy Park.